The best iPads in 2024 – March top picks
13 mins read

The best iPads in 2024 – March top picks

The best iPad for you can be hard to find, because Apple has released so many models over the last few years. There was a time when, if you wanted an Apple tablet, you bought the iPad in whatever color and storage you wanted. That’s no longer the case.

Apple sells a cornucopia of iPad models, from the big, beautiful iPad Pro to the svelte iPad Air. And with the iPad Pro and iPad Air now both sporting Apple silicon, there are even meaningful differences in performance and price depending on which size of iPad Pro you buy. Many rank among the best tablets you can buy, but picking which is best for you can be tricky. Of course, with Apple reportedly developing touchscreen MacBooks for the first time ever, the line between MacBook and iPad may be getting a lot thinner in the future.

To help you decide which iPad is right for your needs right now, we’ve assembled an easy-to-read list here detailing the strengths and weaknesses of each tablet. This is all based on our lab testing and hands-on reviews, with the goal of saving you from making a purchase you might later regret.

Written byAlex WawroWritten by

Alex Wawro

Senior Editor

Alex Wawro is a lifelong journalist who’s spent over a decade covering tech, games and entertainment. He oversees the computing department at Tom’s Guide, which includes managing tablet coverage and reviewing many himself every year.

The quick list

In a hurry? Here’s a brief overview of the tablets on this list, along with quick links that let you jump down the page directly to a review of whichever tablet catches your eye.

Apple iPad Air 5Best overall

Best tablet overall

Apple’s 2022 iPad Air is the first Air to get an M1 chip, and it powers this $599 tablet to new heights. With a great display and plenty of power, it’s the best iPad for most people.

Read more below

Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inchBest overall

2. Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch

Best upgrade pick

Apple’s 12.9-inch iPad Pro is its most expensive tablet, but you get what you pay for thanks to its luminous mini-LED display (exclusive to this iPad) and powerful M2 chip. If you can afford to upgrade from our overall pick, this is the premium iPad to splurge on.

Read more below

Apple iPadBest overall

Best value

Apple’s basic 10.2-inch iPad is the cheapest model, but it’s still a solid tablet. While it’s not quite as light or capable as its pricier siblings, this is still a great value. The 2021 model is an even better value if you can still find one, since it offers most of the functionality of newer models yet costs over $100 less.

Read more below

Apple ipad miniMost portable

Most portable iPad

Apple’s iPad mini is the best iPad for folks who prize portability above all. This slim slate can slip into a purse or big pocket yet packs all the power of Apple silicon, giving you a pint-sized powerhouse with a great screen for gaming and watching movies.

Read more below

The best iPads you can buy today

The best iPad overall

iPad Air 5 on a desk w/ Magic Keyboard

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

The best iPad for most people



Display: 10.9-inch (2360 x 1640 pixels) Liquid Retina

Storage: 64GB/256GB

Ports: USB-C

Dimensions: 9.7 x 7 x 0.24 inches

Weight: 1 pound

Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi 6, optional 5G

Reasons to buy


Thin and elegant design


Sharp, colorful display


Speedy M1-powered performance


Long battery life


Solid 12MP cameras

Reasons to avoid

Peripherals are expensive

As great as the iPad Air 4 is, the iPad Air 5 has replaced it by hitting the same sweet spot between portability and power. The new iPad Air 2022 is ideal for consuming and creating content, and its $599 starting price is within reach for many people. 

Thanks to the addition of M1, the iPad Air 2022 is almost on par with the iPad Pro. That isn’t to say the Air is now a Pro replacement, but the gap in power is considerably smaller. This, along with its relatively affordable starting price, could make this new iPad Air more compelling than the iPad Pro for budget-minded shoppers who still want the best iPad their money can buy.

Overall, the latest iPad Air is an almost perfect tablet. While there’s still some room for improvement, it’s hard to put this sleek, powerful slate down. This is arguably the best tablet for most people.

See our full iPad Air (2022) review.

The best upgrade pick

best iPads: iPad Pro 2021 (12.9-inch)

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide/Henry T. Casey)

The biggest, most beautiful iPad you can buy



Camera Resolution: 12MP (rear, wide) 10MP (rear, ultra wide), 12MP True Depth (front)

Display: 12.9 inches, 2732 x 2048 pixels

Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB

Ports: USB-C, Smart Connector

Dimensions: 11 x 8.5 x 0.3 inches

Weight: 1.5 pounds

Wi-Fi: 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 with optional 5G

Reasons to buy


XDR display gets super bright


M1 processor sets new iPadOS records


Center Stage is pretty cool

Reasons to avoid

Display needs HDR content to look its best

Expensive, especially with accessories

The best got better when Apple dropped its super-powerful M2 chip inside the already mighty iPad Pro. That chip set new tablet records in Geekbench and Adobe Premiere Rush — continuing Apple’s tradition of putting tons of brawn in its sleek tablets. And this 12.9-inch model i the only tablet to sport Apple’s Liquid Retina XDR display, which offers much higher brightness. Also, Apple’s designed it to do a new video conferencing trick called Center Stage, where the camera tracks and follows you as you move during calls. 

Oh, and the basics are still stellar. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro’s quad-speaker setup booms, its optional Magic Keyboard offers a comfortable typing experience — and its 10+ hours of battery life is enough to get you through a full day of use. That said, the super-bright XDR display needs HDR content to thrive, and that’s not always available. But still, the iPad Pro is worth it for creative pros who want the best tablet for their next masterpiece. 

Read our full iPad Pro (12.9-inch) review.

The best value

iPad 2022 with Magic Keyboard Folio and Apple Pencil

(Image credit: Future)

The best value


CPU: A14 Bionic

Camera Resolution: 12MP (rear), 12MP with 122-degree FOV (front)

Display: 10.9-inch (2360 x 1640) Liquid Retina

Storage: 64GB, 256GB

Ports: USB-C

Dimensions: 9.79 x 7.07 x 0.28 inches

Weight: 1.05 pounds

Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, optional 5G

Reasons to buy


Sleeker design with slimmer bezels


Fast A14 Bionic processor


Long battery life


Comfy Magic Keyboard with touchpad


Cellular upgraded to 5G

Reasons to avoid

More expensive that previous model

Apple Pencil awkward to charge

Just 64GB of storage

Doesn’t support Stage Manager in iPadOS 16

The iPad 2022 is a tablet that looks and feels new, and that’s a welcome change over the last few iterations. We appreciate the sleeker design and bigger display, though some may miss the headphone jack from the 9th gen iPad. We also like the Touch ID-enabled power button, repositioned front camera and USB-C charging, as well as the upgraded A14 Bionic chip and 5G connectivity.

However, $449 is a lot of money to spend on this tablet. Yes, Apple is keeping the $329 iPad 9th gen around, but it still stings to see a $120 jump from one generation to the next. Our bigger issue is with the Apple Pencil situation; it’s just way too awkward to charge this thing, and there’s nowhere to store the stylus when not in use.

Do we think the iPad 2022 is worth the splurge over last year’s model? Mostly, as this is a more future-proof tablet. Overall, the iPad 10th gen is one of the best tablets, but we can’t unequivocally say that it’s the best tablet for most people because of the higher price and Apple Pencil blunder.

Read our full iPad 2022 review.

The most portable iPad

The iPad mini 2021

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)

The most portable iPad


CPU: A15 Bionic

Camera Resolution: 12MP (front and rear)

Display: 8.3-inch (2266 x 1488 pixels) Liquid Retina

Storage: 64GB, 256GB

Ports: USB-C

Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.3 x 0.3 inches

Weight: 0.7 pound

Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi 6, optional 5G (Sub-6)

Reasons to buy


Super-portable, light design


Speedy A15 Bionic processor


Sharp and bright display

Reasons to avoid

No Magic Keyboard or headphone jack


We love the flat-edged iPads listed above, but none if them is as portable or light as the new iPad mini (which should be called the iPad Air mini, if we’re being honest). It has the thin-bezels and flat-edges design of the iPad Air, support for the second gen Apple Pencil and even USB-C. Also, its A15 Bionic processor is blazing-fast and its battery life is shockingly good for a tablet this small.

But, yes, we like the iPad mini 6 most for its size. The other iPads aren’t as easy to use with just one hand, and this model throws out the dated normal iPad aesthetic for a modern one, so you’re not compromising for your preferred size. This means you have an iPad that’s better for reading books and comic books, and can share a small desk with your other items. 

Read our full Apple iPad mini 6 (2021) review.

How to choose the best tablet for you

If you know you want to buy an iPad, you’ve already made your buying decision easier by eliminating a large swath of Android and Windows tablets from the running. Now you just need to ask yourself a few key questions.

How do you plan to use this iPad? Is it mostly going to stay within easy reach of the couch, and be used primarily for light entertainment like browsing Reddit, watching YouTube videos, or looking up trivia on IMDB? Then you don’t need all the power of Apple’s new M1 chip, and you’ll probably be very happy with the svelte iPad Air or the less expensive base iPad.

But if this is a tablet you plan to use for creative purposes, either as a laptop replacement (which basically requires investing in a Magic Keyboard attachment) or as a device for editing photos and videos, you should consider paying the premium for a new iPad Pro. Both the 11-inch and 12.9-inch models of the 2021 iPad Pro are incredibly performant due to having Apple’s speedy M1 chip. 

If you have money to burn, consider splurging on the 12.9-inch model: not only is it nice to have the extra screen space, but it’s the only iPad to sport an eye-catching mini-LED display, which Apple is marketing as a pro-grade screen that will make your photos and videos look their best. Just be aware that it really requires HDR content to look its best, and that’s still hard to find within the iPadOS ecosystem.

How much storage do you need? Because it can’t be upgraded after you buy it. Frankly, Apple is pretty unfriendly about storage on iPads, often equipping the entry-level models with barely enough storage to get by. You don’t want anything less than 64 GB, and if you’re planning on storing a good amount of high-res videos and apps on your iPad you’ll probably want to get a model with at least 128 GB of storage space.

Do you want cellular connectivity? Having an iPad that can access cellular data networks really improves your quality of life by letting you use Internet-reliant apps wherever you can get a signal. However, if you’re not planning on taking your iPad on the go, you’ll probably be just fine with a simple Wi-Fi-only model. 

How we tested these tablets

First, we run as many benchmarks as that iPad will allow, to see how fast they are in ways that can be compared directly against competitors. We then use colorimeters and light meters to measure how colorful and bright these tablets’ screens can get. After that, we put them through our in-house battery test, which times how long it takes — while surfing the web with brightness at 150 nits — to drain a tablet of a charge.

After that, we do the same things you do — browse the web, watch YouTube, play games, compose emails — and then a lot more. We try and write some (or all) of our tablet reviews on the tablets we’re testing, on an attachable keyboard if possible. Nobody wants to write a magnum opus on a glass screen, trust me.